Rhodes Rushes to Victory

Sixteen more yards. Senior running back Damien Rhodes came close to breaking the school's all-time record for rushing yards in a single game on Saturday as he rushed for a career-high 236 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Orange to a 31-0 win over Buffalo.

"My offensive line and the receivers did a great job of blocking for me and setting me up," Rhodes said of his performance.  "The coaches did a great job of supporting me after last week's shaky game and letting me know they still believed in me and all that."
    
Buffalo is among the less challenging teams in the Orange's 2005 schedule and Syracuse head coach Greg Robinson took the opportunity to show some of his less experienced players time on the field. Because of this, Rhodes sat out for much of the second half, spoiling the opportunity to tack more yards onto his total. The tailback had already accumulated 216 of his yards in the first half alone.
    
"Damien's our catalyst right now," said quarterback Perry Patterson. "He's our main guy. When he's making big plays, we feed off of him."
    
The victory was based upon a handful of those big plays from Rhodes. He rushed 27 yards for his first touchdown, 50 for his second, and 54 for his third, averaging 8.4 yards per rush on the game. He also rushed for 38 yards in a second-quarter touchdown attempt but narrowly missed the end zone by two yards. Improvement is noted as the tailback rushed for a mere 46 yards last week against West Virginia.

The senior made a career day out of Saturday, but is ready to get back to work in an effort to prepare for the upcoming Virginia game.

"We're just going to enjoy (the win)," he said. "When we come back tomorrow, after we watch the film, we'll get ready for the day. We'll enjoy it tonight, be smart tonight, and just get ready to go back to work tomorrow.

"I can't wait for next week," he continued.  "One of my best friends (Marcus Hamilton) plays for Virginia so I can't wait to play against him. It's just a chance to play another big game in the dome again. You got to love it, you know, every time you get the chance to play a big game at home."


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